Review – Transformers WFC Earthrise Episode 1 with *Spoilers*

Season 2 of the War for Cybertron trilogy kicks into full gear on December 30th. Here’s our review and summary for Episode 1. Be warned though, there are a plethora of spoilers ahead so don’t click below unless you want to be spoiled. You’ve been forewarned! And be sure to join in the discussion here on our forums thread and over on our discord channel. For more news and updates follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Picking up shortly after the space bridge battle in which Optimus Prime and his team fled Cybertron in the Ark, we get to see how badly Cybertron has fallen. Megatron discusses the emotional toll this has taken on him with the inanimate head of Ultra Magnus sitting on a table before being summoned by Shockwave to discuss the prospects of their future.

In an effort to free themselves from the prison they’ve created by being trapped on Cybertron, Shockwave updates Megatron on the status of “Project Nemesis” – which for those who are familiar with the Transformers lore would realize that it’s a ship being built to get them off the planet. Unfortunately, things aren’t going as fast or as smoothly as Shockwave would like due to the lack of energy and resources left on the husk of Cybertron. He recommends to Megatron that Sector 12 should be taken offline and harvested to continue.

Meanwhile, after freeing a few Decepticon prisoners, Elita-1 is astounded that even Megatron would turn on his own people. Citing that someone like him can’t function without an enemy to conquer, and when there are no enemies left to fight, he simply focuses his attention on other Decepticons.
Elita-1 speaks with Jetfire about why it’s important to try to save everyone, even Decepticons, by using the often recycled quote “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.” While Jetfire doesn’t necessarily disagree with this idealism, he doesn’t feel that it’s a good idea to start freeing helping Decepticons who would just end up on the battlefield anyway. But, after saying his piece, he accepts Elita-1’s decision and walks away.
Megatron visits Sector 12 himself to determine if taking the entire facility offline is something that needs to be done. After being greeted by some loyal sycophants in charge of things he is offered a tour so they can show him how well they’re doing with production. Midway through he’s interrupted by Shockwave who reminds Megatron that without the needed resources the Nemesis cannot be completed. Megatron angrily reminds Shockwave who’s in charge and that he’s not made a decision yet on how to proceed.

 
Elita-1, Chromia and Red Alert head out to the prison complex deep within Kaon to do a rescue operation. They find the lack of guards a bit concerning that it might be a trap, but proceed with the plan to infiltrate the detention center and begin their assault. The fight is quickly joined by a pack of Seekers but they are dispatched easily as Jetfire was waiting in the shadows should the Seekers arrive.

Meanwhile, back in the Sector 12 facility, Megatron catches a glimpse of something in a different hallway and demands to know what’s going on in there. The foreman reluctantly leads Megatron to that section where he finds piles and piles of damaged and depleted workers, barely functional. When asked how much of their workforce is incapacitated he’s informed it’s about 92% – but the chipper foreman informs him that the remaining workers more than make up for it. Megatron sighs and realizes he has the information he needs. As he walks away, the workers happily wave goodbye while Megatron communicates to Shockwave to proceed with the shutdown of Sector 12.
 
As the Autobots make their way through the seemingly empty prison they get an Autobot signal on their scanners and begin to track it. Unfortunately, their first assumption that it’s a trap was correct as Starscream and a few dozen other Seekers bear down on them and take them prisoner.

Shockwave is eager to continue with the harvest, which we now learn is pulling the sparks, or lifeforce, from the Sector 12 Decepticons. Something they’ve done many times to obtain the energy needed to continue with production of the Nemesis. Megatron shows a glimpse of remorse for having to murder his own people for what he feels is the greater good and expresses envy that Shockwave lacks such emotional constraints.

The two plotlines converse as Starscream arrives with his prisoners in tow. Megatron, showing an odd sense of respect and admiration of Elita-1’s talents and leadership capabilities, informs her by showing her their plan and what they’ve been doing to the Decepticons. Elita-1 is appalled by this but Megatron quickly snaps back and concludes that all this is Optimus Prime’s fault, somehow. He also informs her that her and her team will be next to have their sparks taken to add to the resource pool for the construction of the Nemesis.

In the closing scene we see Optimus Prime for the first time in the episode, powered down and slumped over the control panel. The ship has been boarded by Doubledealer and a few as of yet unnamed Decepticons that seem very pleased at their find.

Being part of the overall story arc continuing from Siege, the artistic tone is the same, but there is a new intro. I think this episode had much better pacing than many of the episodes from last season and had a good organic flow from scene to scene where we get to see an emphasis on character development and motivations.

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Greg